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Motion: No Confidence in Handling of PFAS Contamination

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

   (i) that the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report on the Inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases in November 2018, to which the government response is overdue by a year,

   (ii) that in a resolution of 29 July 2019, the Senate called on the Government to provide a response to the aforementioned report,

   (iii) that on 9 September 2019, the Senate ordered the production of the government response to the report, with which the Government failed to comply,

   (iv) the statement made in the Senate by Senator Birmingham, representing the Minister for the Environment, on 13 November 2019, that a response to the report was to be finalised before the end of 2019, with no response to date,

   (v) that communities are waiting anxiously on the Government's response to the key recommendations of the inquiry, such as:

      1. the appointment of a Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to PFAS contamination,

      2. undertaking measures to improve participation in the voluntary blood testing program for PFAS, and

      3. assisting property owners and businesses in affected areas for the demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination, including the possibility of buybacks,

   (vi) the failure of the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister for Defence to:

      1. respond to recommendations by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade's Inquiry into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases tabled in November 2018,

      2. provide adequate compensation to affected communities, and

      3. coordinate a whole-of-government response to the issues arising from PFAS contamination; and

   (b) declares its lack of confidence in the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister for Defence for their:

      (i) handling of issues related to PFAS contamination,

      (ii) failure to respond to the concerns and needs of affected communities, and

      (iii) disregard of the Senate in failing to comply with multiple resolutions of the Senate to produce a response to the aforementioned inquiry.

Motion passed.

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